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March 15, 2015

James Blackmon, Jr.

Yogi Ferrell

Troy Williams

Nick Zeisloft

Q.  Yogi, what was the reaction like when you saw your name come up on the board?
YOGI FERRELL:  We were all excited.  As you could probably think, any reaction would be from any team that doesn't know if they're in the tournament or not, jumping up around, hugging each other, getting hyped, just a great feeling inside to know that we're one of the top 68 teams making the NCAA Tournament.

Q.  Coach Crean said he was surprised you were a 10 seed.  Were you surprised?
YOGI FERRELL:  I would say so, just from hearing what the ESPN guys were saying about us being First Four in and First Four out.  We didn't think we would get as high as a 10 seed.  We were thinking more of an 11, 12.  But the committee thought we deserved a 10 seed and we're grateful for it.

Q.  Coach said you guys were tight this morning.  How tight were you?
NICK ZEISLOFT:  I think most of us were just a little nervous at times.  We just had a lot of doubt about it.  We didn't really know, and we were just waiting for that name to come up, and like Yogi was saying, we were very excited about it, and a lot of emotion came out when it did.

Q.  For a guy like you that was here last year when you guys didn't make the tournament, what did it feel like for you?
TROY WILLIAMS:  It's like a new season just started.  Right now 0‑0, and I'm happy to be here.  This is my first time in it.  This is my second year here.  So I'm just hoping that it'll be a lot of fun.

Q.  James, nerve‑racking process?  Are you happy that it's over?
JAMES BLACKMON JR.:  Yeah, everyone was really anxious before we heard it and after, like Yogi said, we was all so happy for each other, and we're just going to make the most out of it.

Q.  Nick, you came from Illinois State and had a chance to play Wichita State a few times.  What can you tell us about them?
NICK ZEISLOFT:  They're a great team.  Well‑coached, very tough, physically and mentally.  I mean, I think Coach has told us they're one of the winningest programs in the past three years from a winning percentage wise, and they went to the Final Four a few years ago, and I've played them several times.  They're very good.  We have our work cut out for us, but we're very excited we have them, as well.

Q.  What about Baker and Van Vleet?
NICK ZEISLOFT:  They're two great players, well experienced, and winning is definitely not new to them, like I just said.  VanVleet is very smart, and Baker, he can do a lot of things that most people can't.  But then again, I've got some of the best guards here to my side, too, so I'm excited to go to war with them.

Q.  I guess since you have faced them but it's been a while, is there one or two things that every scouting report starts with, things that come up every time you prepare for them, or have they changed as personnel has changed?
NICK ZEISLOFT:  Well, I think their five starters right now were all there last year, so personnel‑wise, they're similar to what they were last year, but I know there's definitely some new guys on that team that have hex (phon) throughout the year.  Those guys I'm not as familiar with, but one thing with Wichita is they're a tough team, like I just said.  They play tough, and a big thing of theirs is play angry.  They definitely do that game in and game out.

Q.  Yogi, what do you tell the guys that haven't been here before?  There's just a few of you that have experienced this?
YOGI FERRELL:  Yeah, I'd say just me and Hanner have experienced the NCAA Tournament our freshman year.  Going into this, you've just got to tell these guys not to get too hyped up in the moment.  It's another game, but to not think of it as just another game.  We've got to go out there and play our hearts out because now you know you're guaranteed one game, and that's the first one.  So we've got to go out there and play like we've been playing.  We've got to play desperate.  We've got to go out there and fight for one another, hold each other accountable, and just try and go out there and improve and win.

Q.  James, you've probably dreamed about it, but what's it like to actually be going?
JAMES BLACKMON JR.:  Yeah, it's definitely been something I've always looked forward to watching college basketball.  That's what you see, March Madness.  It's such a big thing, so growing up I've looked forward to that in coming here.  That was our goal; we wanted to do that at the beginning of the season when our backs were against the wall from June.

Q.  Troy, what about you?
TROY WILLIAMS:  I'm just happy to be here.  No, it means a lot to me.  Coming from a basketball family like I am, one of my uncles is at Auburn, my uncle is Boo Williams.  Me, I think going through the tournament now is like me just setting even more legacy up for my family.

Q.  What did those guys have to say when you told them?
TROY WILLIAMS:  I didn't call them yet.

Q.  You talked about it and Nick talked about yesterday their experience, he talked about you guys being young, and I know it's early, but how do you negate that advantage that they have in experience, because there are a lot of guys on that team that have been through not even just two NCAA tournaments but a Final Four, obviously they were a No.1 seed last year.
YOGI FERRELL:  Yeah, I think that comes with the preparation of our team.  I know the coaches will get us well‑prepared, and the way we prepare the rest of this week is just going to give us a better edge I feel like when we go out there and play, especially an experienced team like Wichita State.  Once we're prepared we've got to go out there and just have a want‑to, have a want to win, have a want to get stops, have a want to share the ball, play defense, communicate, and when that comes, when that comes with us, we'll get more experience and win the game.

Q.  Yogi, why do you think the defense improved so much in Chicago?
YOGI FERRELL:  Yeah, I'd say guys wanted to play defense for one another.  I think there was a lot more talk out there in Chicago just knowing kind of maybe what was at stake, and like I said, we went out there and we played desperate, we played hard, offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding, going out there, sharing the ball, and when you have that mentality to know we want to get stops‑‑ what Coach always talks about is how many stops can we get in a row, and I think we had the most against Northwestern.  So, I mean, when we go out there and string stops together, we know that we can get our offense rolling.

Q.  Yogi, you guys are playing desperate, Wichita State is playing angry.  What kind of game do you expect?
YOGI FERRELL:  You know, I mean, it's the NCAA Tournament, so it's probably going to be a crazy game.  I expect it to be hard‑nosed, going against one another, grinding out, just excited to play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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